Death Benefit

(1 customer review)
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Suppose it were legal to gamble on the time someone else is going to die. It is, if you invest in a life insurance product called a viatical.

When the sister of a law firm client dies in her sleep of carbon monoxide poisoning because of an apparently malfunctioning hot water heater, third year law student Elliot Lerner is asked to determine whether anyone could be held responsible in a wrongful death lawsuit. As he looks into the circumstances surrounding the death, he learns about viatical settlements — investment products designed to provide terminally ill patients with immediate cash in exchange for the right to their life insurance payouts when they die. The amount investors are willing to pay for a patient’s death benefit depends on how much longer the patient is expected to live, because the investor must take over payment of the insurance premiums.

If it looks like the investor’s gamble is not going to pay off as planned because the patient is living too long, and the cost of premium payments is exceeding expectations, there’s only one way to eliminate that expense.

1 review for Death Benefit

  1. Kevin

    Not sure if this story was one of those often labeled as ‘ripped from the headlines’ or not, but I certainly wouldn’t be shocked if it was. The idea behind the story feels completely believable, and I could totally picture this happening (if it hasn’t already). For me, much of the book had kind of a Grisham The Firm feel to it. And I definitely mean that as a compliment as I loved that book. The story is loaded with twists and turns, and just when you think you know everything, something else pops up to add a new wrinkle. My only real issue with the book is that I felt the main character should have been in more danger. Given the circumstances of the story, with everything that Elliot was digging into, I kind of felt he should have been in danger. It just felt as if he was somewhat removed from the events, like he was watching it all from the behind safety glass. That really is my only complaint. Excellent characters and a compelling story. I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next Elliot Lerner adventure.

    Kyle Tait does a fantastic job narrating this one, and I find myself enjoying him more with each performance I hear.

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